Excess weight a factor in Okanagan plane crash that killed two people

Excess weight one factor that contributed to a plane crash after it departed Penticton last summer.

Search and rescue workers head out to a plane crash in 2010. They were called upon again almost two years to the day last summer. Factors that lead to the 2012 plane crashing shortly after it took off from Penticton airport have been released by the Transportation Safety Board. A Vancouver couple was killed in the accident.

Excess weight is one of the factors that contributed to a plane crash that took the lives of two people shortly after it departed the Penticton airport last summer.

The investigation found that a number of factors contributed to the accident including a reduced rate of climb. This was attributed to atmospheric conditions, the aircraft being over its gross takeoff weight, reduced power in the right engine and the decision not to use available turbochargers.

“The investigation also determined that the safety of passengers could have been improved if the aircraft had been equipped with shoulder harnesses to complement the available lap belts,” said the report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The B.C. Coroners service identified the deceased as Jayson Dallas Wesley Smith, 30, of Vancouver and Lauren Patricia Sewell, 24, of Surrey. Friends of the couple said Sewell had bought Smith flying lessons for his birthday just two months prior to the crash. It wasn’t clear whether the flight they were on was part of the gift.

The Piper Twin Comanche left Penticton on Aug. 13, 2012 at 2:32 p.m. on a flight to Boundary Bay with one pilot and three passengers onboard. The aircraft’s emergency beacon was activated around 3 p.m. and detected by a WestJet plane that was in the area. The wreckage was located about two hours later in a wooded area near the Brenda Mines site, approximately 18 kilometres west of Kelowna with emergency responders parachuting down to the scene.

The plane flew northbound over Okanagan Lake for approximately 20 nautical miles before turning west into a valley. This was 14 nautical miles further than planned due to a lower than expected rate of climb.

“The investigation also determined that the safety of passengers could have been improved if the aircraft had been equipped with shoulder harnesses to complement the available lap belts,” said the report.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transport occurrences for the advancement of transportation safety. The board does not assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

Investigators established the risk of a post-crash fire was reduced because the aircraft battery had disconnected during the crash. This removed the potential ignition source for the remaining aviation fuel.

Following the accident, NAV Canada and Transport Canada have added information on recommended altitudes when departing the Okanagan Valley and suggest flying routes between Princeton, Brenda Mines, Highway 97C and Okanagan Lake. A new sign was installed at the Penticton airport advising pilots to climb to 5,000 feet prior to turning west or east when departing the Okanagan Valley.

The plane crash came almost two years to the day of another accident where a Piper Comanche went down on Apex Mountain killing four men. The wreckage was found eight days later in rugged terrain. That flight started in Kelowna and made a stop in Penticton, where two duffel bags of unknown weight were unloaded before resuming its trip to Victoria.  A TSB report on the Apex crash said the plane was overloaded when it left Kelowna and attempted to climb over a ridge 6,500 feet over sea level when it struck trees just below the summit.

Just Posted

Penticton athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Penticton Vees look to playoffs after Feb. 16 win against Langley

The team needs to win two of their last three games to claim the division title

Summerland’s Justin Kripps wins bobsleigh world cup event

Canadian team picks up their first four-man bobsleigh win on the world cup circuit

Here’s your first look at Penticton’s proposed budget for 2019

The city is recommending a 3.6 per cent tax increase, additional increase to business tax multiplier

Businesses directly impacted by Hwy. 97 closure

Members of the Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce faced late deliveries. no staff, etc.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read